Following a successful event in 2023, Manufacturing & Engineering Week continues to evolve, becoming Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week in 2024. The small adjustment reflects the forward-looking nature of the event and focus on the new technologies, tools and solutions driving the sector forward.

Commenting on the change Verity Noon, marketing director at show organiser, Nineteen Group said: “The week is all about cutting-edge innovations in hardware and software and solutions to the current challenges being faced around industry 4.0, sustainability and supply chain shortages. Manufacturers and engineers are constantly looking for ways to work smarter, to become more efficient, stay ahead of the competitive curve and explore new business models and practices and Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week will help them do just that.”

With more than 10,000 manufacturers, designers, engineers and maintenance professionals attending in 2023, the event will expand way beyond 450 exhibitors with the addition of Drives & Controls in Hall 5. Laura Parris, event director for Drives & Controls at Nineteen Group said of the addition: “Drives & Controls is one of the great brand names in the UK industrial exhibitions sector. It has such a long history from the days when it overflowed from its original home in Telford to now where it finds its natural place as part of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week.”

With technology businesses such as Weidmuller, Pilz, Sigmatek and Festo, confirmed for Drives & Controls the event complements the other exhibitions, Design & Engineering Expo, Smart Factory Expo and Maintec perfectly. In addition, Air-Tech and Fluid Power & Systems will also be returning, taking place in Hall 5 of the NEC.    

A host of other live events will be taking place during Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024. Senior manufacturing leaders will be able to attend the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit and the Director’s Forum alongside the Industrial Data Summit. The Manufacturer Top 100 Award ceremony which celebrates the heroes of UK manufacturing and recognises their contribution to the sector will also be held during the week.

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week has the support of many of the high-profile organisations, institutions and trade bodies representing the UK’s industrial and manufacturing sector such as the MTC, GAMBICA, Make UK and Engineering UK.

Members of these organisations will join the advisory council to assist in curating the educational and thought leadership programme taking place across the seven Solution Theatres.

Sustainability is not only high on the agenda of those in the industrial sector but also of the event organisers themselves. The event will once again be carbon neutral in 2024 with more than 20,000 trees planted in the Nineteen Group Forest since 2022. The event’s charity partner is again Engineers Without Borders UK, who are ensuring that globally responsible engineering is embedded within the thinking of both engineers and the businesses they work for.

Festival vibes

Peter Jones, CEO of Nineteen Group commented on the launch of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2024 saying: “In 2023 we gave our team licence to put on an event which was different to how industrial exhibitions and conferences had been staged in the past. The festival feeling which they created will be built on in 2024 and the addition of Drives & Controls in Hall 5 means we must think even bigger as there are just simply more people to engage and entertain.”

Grace Gilling, managing director of The Manufacturer commented “Evolving the name for 2024 is something we are delighted about. Being smart in manufacturing encompasses not only technology but also being open to the practices and ideas of your peers and fellow manufacturers. This bringing together and sharing of best practice has always been a feature of what we have done in Smart Factory Expo but to see that thinking taken out across the whole show is absolutely the right thing to do. Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week is a recognition that we are all in this together as an industrial community.”

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week will run from 5-6 June 2024. Other exhibitions are also taking place at the NEC during the week run by other event organisers, and these include the UK Garage & Bodyshop event run by Messe Frankfurt; Med-Tech Innovation Expo and TCT 3Sixty from Rapid News Group and Subcon from the Mark Allen Group. A single visitor registration to Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week provides access to all the events. 

Full education programme announced

The education programme for Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week has been announced with nearly 150 free-to-attend sessions taking place across eight solutions theatres during the live events from 5-6 June 2024 at Birmingham’s NEC.

The full programme of keynote presentations and other sessions is available at: Visitors are encouraged to plan their programme in advance, and this can be easily done using the individual theatre exploration tools available on the website. There are eight solution theatres in total covering the topics of: Digital Transformation, IIoT & Connectivity, Industrial Data & AI, Innovation, Maintenance, Drives & Technology, Air-Tech Solutions, Fluid Power & Systems.

Highlights from the keynote presentations include Neelofar Ansari, senior manufacturing engineer, BAE Systems who is presenting on the intriguing topic of Human Augmentation: Connecting with Manufacturing Environments in the IIoT and Connectivity Theatre. Also, Roy Haworth, head of digital mock up process and implementation, Airbus Defence & Space will be talking about using CAD data to drive data fusion and 3D visualisation in the Innovation Theatre.

Elsewhere in the Industrial Data and AI Theatre Claire Bailey, head of data and analytics, Saffran Seats will be talking about Data-Driven Culture: The Smart Way to Digital Success whereas Mircea Oprisan, senior director data & analytics delivery, Mars will be presenting a case study on leveraging decision intelligence.

Also happening in the Industrial Data and AI Theatre is a technical discussion that will include real data from robot applications including welding, aerospace drilling and additive manufacturing. Entitled How IONA improves robot performance and why this is essential for modern-day manufacturing and presented by Craig Davey, COO – Insphere, this session is suitable for anyone working within robots and automation.

In the Air-Tech Theatre Ahmed Kovacevic, research chair in compressor technology and Ivona Ivkovic-Kihic, research project coordinator (both from City, University of London) will address: Energy Sustainability and Net-Zero for Screw Compressors. The talk will introduce the University and the Centre and concentrate on the recent projects called Smart Efficient Compression, Reliability and Energy Targets (SECRET) and the Industrial consortium for Compressors and Expanders in Future Energy Systems (CERES). 

Of note in the Drives & Technology Theatre, David Santos, head of manufacturing engineering & automation, Chelton will be talking about SMEs and Automation: Overcoming complexity and challenges during and after implementation whereas Krishna Mistry, VP of series engineering, Verge Motorcycles will be covering Agile Engineering Cycles: Optimising Design, Development, and Deployment in Manufacturing

Also, in the Drives & Technology Theatre Jason Reed, machinery safety specialist, Pilz Automation will address the important topic of keeping machinery safe in a digital world. Mr Reed will unravel the critical intersection of industrial automation, cybersecurity, and employee safety in the era of digitalisation.

Race to the summit

As well as the free to attend educational content there are also two summits that run alongside the exhibitions namely the Industrial Data and AI Summit and the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit. Now in its 7th year, the Industrial Data & AI Summit takes place on 5th June and focuses on data management and data insights. The structure of the summit includes four keynote presentations, a panel discussion and two 60-minute roundtable discussion sessions.

The summit allows senior leaders to hear from the sector’s most respected experts as well as to share their knowledge and experiences with their peers. The roundtable sessions offer an opportunity for in-depth discussions on topics ranging from data integration and management to developing a data driven business to generative AI. 

Taking place on both the 5th and 6th June is The Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit. This summit includes eight keynote presentations, two panel discussions and four 60-minute roundtable discussion sessions.

The Summit focuses on how digitalisation is changing the way in which products are designed, produced, used and maintained as well as transforming the operations, processes and energy footprints of factories and supply chains. This summit is broken down into two streams, the Enterprise stream is for those working within businesses with revenues more than £100 million while the Growth stream is for those less than £100 million (theoretically classed as SMEs).

Smart Manufacturing & Engineering



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